“The Big Three”
by Mike Tripp
He brought his hand to his mouth, nursed his burned fingers.
The crew of the U.S.S. Midland loved their captain, but also knew in times like these? … Give him a wide berth.
No matter how hard the ship’s captain tried, the older power transfer nodes just could not handle the flow from the new style warp core.
On her last mission, the Midland had suffered extensive damage, and although command had opted not to decommission the old girl … repairs and refit were not going well.
Allen had lost good people on that mission … too many good people.
“Those burns look pretty bad. You might want to have those looked at,”
No need for Allen to turn, the voice was very distinct, soothing even, to his pointed ears … one of the hereditary gifts of his mother.
“What is it, N’alae?” he asked his Romulan first officer.
Had it been a year or did it just seem like a year since the Midland rescued N’alae from the Romulan Republic ship she served on?
Time seemed to have blurred during the Iconian war.
It was the mission when Allen went from helm officer to ship’s captain at the blink of a torpedo strike against the bridge.
He had been the only member of the senior staff to survive that day.
Needing an immediate body to feel the role as first officer to complete the mission, the sole survivor of the R.R.W. Tomal was quickly pressed into service as exec officer of the Midland.
And it just kinda stuck.
At first her departure back to the Romulan navy was put off a few times while the Midland slowly recovered, licking its wounds.
Days became weeks and so forth until finally she was placed on detached service to Starfleet and the assignment made semi-permanent.
“Do you want me to have doctor find and heal those burns before or after your meeting with the General?” she asked.
“The one I came down here to tell you about,” she answered.
“Which General? … And just when is this meeting?”
“Gen. Hauk, and the meeting is aboard his flagship in ten minutes.”
She held up a hand to stay his next response.
“And before you ask … Yes, this is for real. No, you weren’t giving much notice. And yes, you can make it as we’re to beam you there directly,” she answered the unspoken line of questions.
“Can I at least change first?”
“No, the General said to have you drop everything and report to him directly.”
“Gen. Hauk? … I thought he stepped down from Alliance command.”
N’alae simply shrugged, tagged her commanding officer for the transporter and waved as he disappeared from view.
Ten minutes later, Allen Sollace was being led through the corridors of the I.K.S. Qu’In ‘an bortaS behind an extremely irritable Ferasian who’s only means of communication seemed through a series of grunts and gestures.
At one door along their route, the feline pointed at an opening door, growled and left.
With a shrug, Allen entered the room finding himself joining three others on the ship’s observation deck in the company of three others.
One was the Klingon, Gen. Hauk.
The second a human he recognized as Miles Llewellyn and the third was an unknown yet rather attractive Orion female who left him smiling rather stupidly.
Her pheromones, he realized a bit late.
Drawing himself up, he gave a nod of greeting to Miles and the smiling Orion before facing the Klingon.
“Capt. Allen Sollace, reporting as ordered.”
“At ease, and feel free to join your fellow ship captains as I have something to discuss with the three of you,” said Hauk.
“Now that we’re all here, I’ll be brief,” he continued.
“A week ago, Starfleet’s Admiral Quinn came to Qonos to ask me to assist him by rebuilding … restructuring Alliance Central Command.”
“Does this mean you’ll be taking charge again?” asked Allen.
Many knew that Hauk had stepped down in protest just before the Iconian war, after what was described as a ‘rogue’ Federation battle group attacked his original flagship.
The ambush cost Hauk both his ship, the lives of most of his crew, and some of his trust for the Federation … excluding a select few within the Alliance.
Other faces had come and gone since but none stayed long in the role of Joint Forces Commander until during the last war, their fleet was scattered and merged … temporarily … with other fleets and commands.
“I’m here only so long as to to get things on a firm foundation and until the new JFC can settle into the role,” Hauk answered.
“Any idea who that will be?” Miles asked
“Yes, but no … I’m not at liberty to say as yet,” Hauk returned.
“So why *are* we here,” asked the Orion.
“Good question, Devaras,” said Hauk.
“With the war now over and rebuilding already underway, it’s felt that all three governments need something to look to for hope … hope of a change away from the war footing we’ve been living with for the past couple of years.”
“We’re retooling Alliance Central Command for exploration, and I need you three … as the commanders of the first three flag cruisers that’ll be ready to get out there … to help me with pulling together and finalizing things.”
“With all do respect, General, the Midland is months away from space and a far cry smaller than those Odyssey lines out there,” Allen noted.
“Didn’t they tell you son?” Hauk asked.
“Tell me what?”
“Miles commands the Fortitude which is coming out of refit. Capt. Devaras commands the new Martok-class I.K.S. jev mI’wI’ and you … captain … are no longer commander of the Midland …”
Hauk paused for effect.
“The U.S.S. Reliance is yours. They gave her to you.”
Hauk went on talking about how “the big three” would be joined by several other ships, but it would be they who would help lead the charge back into the unknown.
Allen heard little for several minutes.
He looked past Hauk and out the viewport towards three illuminated drydocks, side-by-side in the Cordra shipyards.
The Martok-class was center with the Fortitude to the left.
To the right, was the modified Sojourner-hull with U.S.S. Reliance written across the roundish saucer.
Capt. Allen Sollace
CO, U.S.S. Reliance
CO, I.K.S. Qu’In ‘an bortaS
aka. Mike Tripp